According to Shell oil, two violent crimes are committed in the U.S.
every minute of every day. Women driving alone can be particularly
vulnerable, though there are many things you can do to keep yourself
safer, both inside your car and out.
We found an informative brochure from Shell Oil with many helpful tips to guide women towards safer behaviors when alone behind the wheel. Written in conjunction with the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) and the National Crime Prevention Council (www.weprevent.org), many of the free booklet's tips are simply common-sense reminders to help you be more aware of potentially dangerous situations.
First off: An especially good habit is always to be sure you have your keys in your hand before you approach your car.
pages are dedicated to parking lot safety, with familiar reminders to
park in a well-lighted area, near the exit, and away from shrubs that
could hide a would-be attacker. But the booklet also suggests such
tactics as backing into the parking spot to reduce the chance that
somebody could trap you, and flipping your passenger seat forward
before leaving the vehicle to aid our visibility into the car when you
return. Also, if you've got a group of people returning to their cars
in a lot, another tip suggests that everybody should go to one car
first, then that driver can drop off each person one at a time,
remaining nearby until each vehicle starts safely.
Concerned about car-jackings? Well, keeping your door locked is a no-brainer. But, if you feel you could be driving into a potentially dangerous situation at an intersection, the booklet suggests anticipating your approach so that you can time the light to avoid stopping. Try to be alert of potential escape routes: leave enough room behind the car in front of you that you can see its tires touching the pavement, so you can pull out quickly without having to back up. And stay in the left-hand lane when approaching an intersection; this will give you time to see anybody approaching from the curb, and reduce your chance of being boxed in.
you are concerned that you're being followed, don't drive home: You'll
just be bringing a potential attacker to your home and loved ones.
Instead, drive to a well-lit public place like a grocery store, gas
station, or police station. Once there, draw attention to yourself,
even honk your horn if you have to.
These are just highlights - click to download your own complete copy of Shell's "Alone Behind the Wheel," for more safety tips on what to do and what not to do when driving by yourself. It's a handy little booklet that you can keep in your glovebox or pass along to a friend when you're done reading it. Might even be a good idea to browse the other downloadable booklets at the site, and collect a set to provide to any young drivers in your household.